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TW, Managing my mental health

At the moment, almost everything I do is just me trying to survive my mental illnesses. 

And I hate it.

My symptoms are controlling my life.

My meds are just enough to stop me killing myself. They aren't enough to give me any quality of life.

My doctors' only real concerns are keeping me alive, not keeping me healthy or happy. (though of course a couple of doctors I've had didn't even care about the alive part.)


I feel really stuck.

I'm tired of doing all this work, all the time, just to end up where I started.

How can I get to a point where I'm managing my mental health, instead of just surviving it?


I have depression, anxiety and cPTSD among others, but those three are the ones that're the worst right now.

What can I do?


Re: TW, Managing my mental health

Hey @Tiny_leaf 


Reading these words, I can really feel the exhaustion that comes with having to juggle symptoms, meds and diagnoses. I know that makes me feel like a hamster on a wheel - chasing my tail, with no clear end in sight. 


I think you've asked a big question that a lot of people who have experienced mental health challenges have thought about. Getting to a stage where you are managing your mental health rather than surviving it, looks different for everyone.


Do you mind if I ask what managing vs surviving looks like to you? You don't have to answer that question here, but it could be a good one to reflect on and build some small achievable goals from? 





Re: TW, Managing my mental health

Hi @Tiny_leaf Smiley Happy firstly, I'm so so sorry that you have to experience this. (Like really sorry, it sounds awful). And I also just want to add for context that even though we haven't spoken a whole lot I've read a lot of your posts and have huge amounts of respect for you- you're so compassionate and insightful.


I think I've been in similar situations, where mental illness was consuming my life and so I was putting so much effort into trying to fight it or get help with it, but that wasn't really doing much to reduce the symptoms (and definitely not enough), and because so much effort was going into trying to fix a thing that wasn't changing it kind of made it seem even bigger and more overwhelming.


For me I found it helpful to switch my focus from trying to reduce things from my life I didn't want (eg mental illness symptoms- because I didn't know how, and nothing that was suggested really worked), to increasing things in my life I did want. It made it more tangible and easier to achieve.


Are there any things in your life at the moment that bring you any happiness? Or are there any things you can think of that if you could have them as part of your life they would probably make it feel richer/fuller? I found taking little steps to increase those things really helpful for enhancing my quality of life.


(I know this might not be helpful for you but if it sounds like it might be and you want to talk it through more let me know Smiley Happy also if it seems like there's too many obstacles for it to be possible we could maybe also help brainstorm ideas to get past them if you want)


I hope things get better for you soon Heart


Re: TW, Managing my mental health


At the moment everything I do is to cope with my symptoms.

I literally can't do anything else because if I do something that doesn't actively help my symptoms then they'll become too much to deal with.


Like even when I do something I'm interested in it's always to try to keep a handle on my depression because if I don't I'll get suicidal, so I have to choose an activity that will have exactly the right effect on my mood. I can't just do stuff because I feel like it because I'm spending that time and energy trying to not get to a point where my life is at risk.


I have nothing left to do stuff that I want to do if it won't actively help me deal with my symptoms. I have no energy which I can put into making any progress with my mental illnesses.


Having my mental illness managed would be it being stable enough to be left alone for a damn ten minutes without me getting dangerously suicidal.

It would be having it at a point when I don't have to do everything for the specific purpose of not breaking down, and where I have enough energy to do anything else. 


Re: TW, Managing my mental health


Thank you.


Everything I do is trying to reduce my symptoms, because if I don't I can become a danger to myself.

I don't have anything left over for doing other stuff.


It probably sounds stupid but I only do stuff I enjoy because I'm trying not to get suicidal. Because I'm always bordering on wanting to die, and it's just a constant thing in the back of my head, even when I try to distract myself.

So I have to make sure that whatever I do is a good enough distraction. And even then it's just a distraction. It never makes my life feel any fuller or make me want to live it.

It just distracts me from wanting to die.


Re: TW, Managing my mental health

Hi @Tiny_leaf, I am sorry that you feel like you are getting nowhere. It is a defeating feeling to put in so much and feel as though the outcome does not match your input. It is difficult for anyone to sit with those feelings, so I can empathise this as being a struggle for you Smiley Sad As @Bre-RO mentioned, wanting to feel as though you are managing rather than surviving is common for any type of illness. Sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle and that can be exhausting. You acknowledge the fact that the things you are interested in or want to do.. are focused mostly on reducing your symptoms. What do some of these things look like for you? Do you any activities serve multiple purposes for you (i.e reducing symptoms and being enjoyable)?


It sounds as though you are placing some pressure on yourself whilst you are going through a difficult time. As cliche as it sounds, our mental health journey is not linear - it has peaks and troughs. Often when we are stuck in a trough, we wonder if things will ever show a subtle sign of improvement. It seems as though you are doing your best in what sounds like a challenging time of your life that is focused on keeping yourself safe. It sounds like a low and consuming time for you. Perhaps this is one of those deep troughs you are travelling through which unbelievably sucks. You have been getting through each one with all of the strategies and tools you have, among your strengths.


I acknowledge your mention of wanting to die as a constant in your mind. It must be distressing to feel that way all the time. I am wondering if you are currently safe from your thoughts of wanting to harm yourself/end your life? Heart

Re: TW, Managing my mental health

@Taylor-RO I am safe at the moment.


My mental health journey has troughs and deeper troughs. Nothing over the last few years could really be described as a peak.

Things are never not shit. They're just slightly more shit at the moment.


The things I do should double as being enjoyable but depression ruins them all.


Re: TW, Managing my mental health

Hey @Tiny_leaf

I'm really sorry to hear that you've been struggling with your mental heath for so long. I must be extremely difficult to feel as if you are stuck in your depression. I know that in the past, you've given some really incredible advice and support to some of the other users on the forum. I was wondering if any of this advice is from personal experience of things that have worked for you in the past? Do you have any advice for anyone reading this thread, who might be feeling the same way as you?


Re: TW, Managing my mental health

@Andrea-RO mostly experience and stuff that's helped me, or occasionally things that have helped people elsewhere on the internet. Personally I find real experience from other people the most helpful, so I try to sort of "pay it forward".


So I wouldn't really have much advice for anyone reading this honestly, unless or until I find something that helps me.